Loveable lug.Fighting for Tour card.Has car broken into and stereo stolen.Finds himself in the final pairing Sunday at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst.Shoots 84.Rebounds with three wins on the Nationwide Tour to earn battlefield promotion.Soon thereafter wins on PGA Tour in Pennsylvania.Becomes talk show darling.Doesnt let any of it go to his head.
Frankly, Im surprised the guys who run the Skins Game didnt convince Gore to join their late season made-for-TV party. I know they already had four players. But where is it written that you cant have five in that format?
Anyway, this is a roundabout way of getting to Wes Short Jr. Quietly, Shorts story is almost as feel good as Gores.
Six weeks ago the 41-year-old Short approached his agent and said his supply of golf shirts and slacks was running low. The agent, Octagons Dan Baker, dutifully contacted two clothing companies. Neither was interested.
Budget restrictions, they told Baker. Left unsaid was the fact that Short was a struggling former club pro from Texas who hadnt gotten his Tour card until he was 40. And, as late as last week, it didnt look like he was going to get back to The Big Show in 2006.
All of a sudden at Las Vegas last week he found himself with a short iron to the 72nd hole with his immediate future fully at stake. If he played safe and made par, he had a chance to earn enough money to virtually guarantee his card for next year. If he knocked it close and made the putt, he was looking at a playoff with Jim Furyk. If he made bogey, who knows what..
He knocked it close. He made the putt. Furyk hit a ball in the water in overtime. Short got up and down from a bunker for par and won the golf tournament.
It was worth $720,000 and exempt status through 2007. Among other things, it got him into the Mercedes Championships in Maui in January where he will play in an elite field while his family is being treated like Hawaiian royalty.
Professionally, the victory at Las Vegas meant everything to Wes Short Jr. And to those who had been paying close attention, it actually wasnt that much of a surprise. His last nine rounds now on the PGA Tour have all been in the 60s.
Wes Short is a quiet man with a back that doesnt always approach the day with much enthusiasm for golf. At Las Vegas he was the fourth alternate at the beginning of the week. Earlier in the year he had come up $300,000 shy of the number he needed to retain his playing privileges via a medical extension
Now Short is the new poster boy for all those players out there who know theyre good but dont know exactly how good they are or when they should stop pursuing their golf dream.
Wes is a very focused guy, Baker says. And as he got older, he kept getting better.
Hes quiet, reserved, almost stoic. But the more you talk to him, the easier he is to talk to. Hes very earnest, very sincere, very thoughtful.
These are traits all the good club pros have.
Wes Short is the kind of guy whod make a good small-town sheriff in an Elmore Leonard western. Hes got a little Gary Cooper and a little Chris Cooper in him.
Like Gore, hed be a great guy to sit down and have a beer with. Gore would entertain you and make you smile. Short would listen to you and make you think you mattered.
Tour pros gets lots of free stuff. That stuff includes shirts and slacks. A clothing company called Descente is now taking care of Wes Short.
Feels good to know hes on the list.
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